Best Foam Roller Reviews & Buying Guide

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best foam roller reviewsWelcome to the best foam roller buying guide on the internet today.  If you made it here, you probably already have a basic understanding of foam rollers.  In this guide, you will learn all about the benefits of using a foam roller, factors to consider when buying a foam roller and in-depth reviews for the top 10 foam rollers on the market.

In case you don’t know about foam rollers, they are those thicker and shorter versions of pool noodles you might have seen people using in the gym.  They are great for massaging tight parts of the body, especially for those people suffering from lower back pain.  People also use them during their exercise routines to get a good stretch.

Now that you have a basic understanding of foam rollers, it’s time to check out the best ones and learn more about them.

Best Foam Roller Picks

After doing some thorough research, the following foam rollers came out the winners:

TriggerPoint GRID
Our Rating
(4.7 / 5)

Our Reviews
LuxFit Premium
Our Rating
(4.5 / 5)

Our Reviews
Professional Grade
Our Rating
(4.7 / 5)

Our Reviews
Master of Muscle
Our Rating
(4.5 / 5)

Our Reviews
Black High Density Roller
Our Rating
(4.5 / 5)

Our Reviews
Jaifor Firm Density
Our Rating
(4.6 / 5)

Our Reviews
AmazonBasics High-Density
Our Rating
(4.6 / 5)

Our Reviews
OPTP PFR36 Pro
Our Rating
(4.5 / 5)

Our Reviews
Eco-Friendly EVA Roller
Our Rating
(4.7 / 5)

Our Reviews
King Athletic Bundle
Our Rating
(4.8 / 5)

Our Reviews
Rumble Roller
Our Rating
(4.7 / 5)

ProSource Ultra Deluxe
Our Rating
(4.3 / 5)

Athren Roller Premium Quality
Our Rating
(4.7 / 5)

HealthyLifeStyle Foam Roller
Our Rating
(4.6 / 5)

TriggerPoint GRID
Our Rating
(4.7 / 5)

It was tough compiling a list of top rollers with all the models on the market.  It took a lot of time to narrow down this list.  Foam rollers vary in size and firmness.  Our picks make sure to offer you the best variety and quality on the market today.  It’s up to you which size and level of firmness you prefer.  Continue reading to get a better understanding of foam rollers and additional tips before buying.

Factors to Consider 

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The following factors will give you a good idea of some things to keep in mind when buying a foam roller.  This way, you can decide which type you need for your particular situation.  After checking out the factors to consider, you will them jump right into the individual foam roller reviews.

Think About How You’ll Use It

Some folks need the best foam roller for massage, while others are looking for one that’s ideal to use for exercising. We’ll discuss more about exercising with a foam roller later, but for now, just know that a foam roller that’s only half-round is going to provide more stability for exercising than one that is completely round and can roll more easily. If the user is elderly or recovering from an injury or illness (or something that has weakened them), a foam roller that is half-round is safer and more easily controlled than a fully-round one.

Start Soft but not before you read our Foam Roller Reviews

If you’re new to using a foam roller, the best foam roller for you will be on the softer end of the extreme. A firmness will likely give you a massage that is too intense and incredibly painful. Foam roller reviews are a great way to determine the firmness of any given model. In addition to reading reviews, you’ll notice that foam rollers are color-coded to help users determine their level of firmness. Start with a white roller, which is the softest. After you adjust to it, move up to a green or blue roller of medium firmness. Over time, you may transition to a black roller, which has the highest density.

Note: Some people suggest using a PVC pipe in place of a foam roller. Simply put: do not do this. Using a PVC pipe for massage will be incredibly painful, as there is no way to regulate the pressure on your muscles and trigger points. If you’re going to have a roller massage, invest in a proper foam roller.

Foam Roller Reviews: Top 10 

Now that you know a bit about how to pick the best foam roller, let’s get to it and talk about the various foam roller reviews. We’ll cover the 10 most popular models to get you started.

TriggerPoint GRID

(4.7 / 5)

Very highly-rated, the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller is one of the best foam rollers on the market. It’s also one of the most expensive of the models in our foam roller reviews. What makes it so great? While many foam rollers feature a basic design that features a single density all the way through, the TriggerPoint GRID has a patented design made of multiple densities. In addition to this, it has a hollow core that is still rigid enough to provide amazing support. Foam rollers are often thought of as throw-away items that break down after a period of time. Not so with the TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller! It’s guaranteed not to lose its shape or fall apart, even with heavy use. In addition to the high-quality, well-constructed foam roller, you’ll receive online access to a free instructional video to assist you in using your new roller.

LuxFit Premium 

(4.5 / 5)

The LuxFit Premium High Density Foam Roller is a more basic design that is hardy and versatile. It comes in a variety of sizes (6×36, 6×18, and 6×12), making it excellent for a wide range of activities from yoga and exercise to trigger point massage. If you’ve read the above tips for choosing the best foam roller, you’ve noted that black foam rollers are the hardest, most high-density ones. The LuxFit is definitely extra firm and should only be used by people who are experienced at using foam rollers. In addition to massage, this roller is great for working on balance, coordination, and positioning.

Professional Grade

(4.7 / 5)

Blue is for medium density, and the Exercise Foam Roller is great for people who have some degree of experience with using these devices. The inner core of this roller is hollow, allowing it a bit of give as you perform your massage or exercises. It has a 2-in-1 design that allows users access to both high and low density foam to perform an assortment of activities. The Exercise Foam roller is one of the best in our foam roller reviews for people who travel. It’s light and small, measuring at only 13”x6”. Many people like to tote this roller with them to the office to use it during breaks. Others take it to the gym to incorporate it into their workout routine. The Exercise Foam Roller comes with an eBook and a pdf instruction guide to get you started. It’s not an inexpensive foam roller, but it is very high quality and comes with a money-back guarantee.

Best of all? The Exercise Foam roller comes with an 18.3” rolling massage stick that’s fantastic for tending to those sore places that are hard to work with a regular roller.

Master of Muscle

(4.5 / 5)

This device takes the basic design of foam rollers and ups the ante with dual pressure zones. This means that the user is able to control how much pressure gets put on their muscles and pressure points. Use the Finger Tip Pressure Zone, equipped with large nubs, to apply more intense pressure. For areas that require a lighter touch, use the smoother Palm Pressure Zone. Because it’s light and only 13 inches long, it can easily be tossed in a gym bag and toted anywhere. It’s made of durable, sturdy material that will last through many uses. The BEST Foam Roller comes with a handy instruction manual to help newer users get acquainted with how to use it safely and effectively.

Black High Density Roller

(4.5 / 5)

The design of this foam roller is about as basic as they come. It doesn’t have the nubs or hollow cores of many of the other rollers we’ve reviewed. It’s a solid piece of high-density PERformance Roller Expanded Polyethylene that’s meant for more intense foam roller massages or workouts. EPE foam really is meant for serious use, as it can withstand a whopping 1.9 pounds of pressure per cubic foot. While the Black High Density Foam Roller is firm, some users report that it isn’t quite as firm as other black rollers that are labeled “high density.” This foam roller comes in two sizes: 6”x12” and 6”x18 

Jaifor Firm Density

(4.6 / 5)

The first thing that’s notable about the Jaifor Firm Density Foam Roller is that it’s made in the U.S.A. by veterans; the product is also labeled by individuals with disabilities. Jaifor takes pride in providing jobs for people who need them. They also take pride in the fact that this foam roller is made of the highest-quality materials and doesn’t have the strong chemical smell that many customers complain of when they first start using foreign-made rollers. The roller is very firm, making it ideal for users who want a very high-intensity massage. It’s lightweight and measures in at 18×6 inches, making it portable. E-mailed instructions make it easy for those who are unfamiliar with foam roller use to get started with this product.

AmazonBasics High-Density

(4.6 / 5)

Great for massage and also useful for use when working out, the AmazonBasics High-Density Foam Roller is ready to stand up to some real abuse. Molded edges make this high-density roller extra comfortable for use. It’s extra-firm and made from molded polypropylene, which means it will last for a long time and is incredibly easy to clean. It’s a longer roller, measuring in at 36x6x6 inches. Although it’s long, it’s very lightweight, making it easy to take it with you to the gym or to yoga class. Meant for experienced users, the AmazonBasics High-Density Foam Roller is meant for moderate or heavy use and can hold up to use by all body types. This is one of the most firm rollers in our foam roller reviews. Users agree with this sentiment, with many people insisting that it is among one of the most dense foam rollers they’ve used.

OPTP PFR36 Pro

(4.5 / 5)

The OPTP PRO-Roller Standard Density doesn’t look like any of the other foam rollers we’ve reviewed. It comes in one of two marbled colors (green or blue) and has a lightly textured surface. It should be different, as it is one of the most expensive foam rollers in our list of reviews. Why is it so pricey? It’s not a particularly dense roller, rating in at moderately firm. It is made of heat-molded foam, which allows it to withstand heavy use. This makes it great for multi-user environments such as the gym, yoga studios, or physical therapists’ offices. In fact, the OPTP PRO-Roller is designed for professional use and is made to far outlast all of the other brands of foam rollers. If you’re new to using a foam roller and aren’t sure if it’s something you’ll stick to, opt for a less expensive one. If use of a foam roller is frequently part of your massage or workout routine and you’ve already worn through a couple of them, the OPTP PRO-Roller is the one for you.

Eco-Friendly EVA Roller

(4.7 / 5)

You can’t argue with the seriousness of a foam roller that’s simply called “The Foam Roller.” Attractive and branded with the “Rolling With It” logo on the end of the roller, professionals rave about The Foam Roller. It’s constructed of EVA foam. Why does this matter? Because EVA foam is incredibly eco-friendly. While other foams use chlorine to produce and end up in landfills when their time is done, EVA foam doesn’t produce harmful chlorine and is 100% recyclable. The Foam Roller comes in three sizes: 13×6”, 18×6”, and 36×6”, so there’s certain to be one that will work for your specific activity. This is the foam roller that is most-recommended by personal trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists, and other professionals, and it’s the one you’ll find most frequently in their offices.  The Foam Roller is high-density, but has a softer exterior built over a very firm core so that you can determine the amount of pressure you’d like by how hard you press down.

King Athletic Bundle

(4.8 / 5)

The highest-rated product in our foam roller reviews, this 2-for-1 foam roller offer might seem gimmicky until you start to read what users have to say about the products that arrive with your purchase. Why settle for one foam roller when you can get two different ones to suit your needs? This package comes with one hard-foam roller, one soft-foam roller, and a nifty carrying case for taking a roller with you on the go. The high-density, hard roller is great for large muscles that need a deep, intense massage. If you’ve finished with a workout and have found that your muscles are sore and slow to recover, use the soft, lower-density foam roller to relax and ease them, helping them feel better faster. Each of these foam rollers comes designed with 3 different surface patterns, enabling you to decide what kind of pressure you need on different parts of your body. They’re both heavy-duty and durable for constant, repeated use. The back of the packaging features suggestions for exercises to get you started.

New to Foam Rollers? Want to Know More?

Folks who came here looking for the best foam roller and looking for foam roller reviews wanted to get right down to business. Other people might still be educating themselves on why people use foam rollers at all and what sorts of conditions they’re effective at treating. If you want to learn more, this next section is for you.

Fascia: What Is It?

To get started, let’s discuss our fascia. What’s that? Fascia is an important part of the body that you probably aren’t aware of. You see, muscle pain and tightness is a common complaint in pretty much everyone. No matter how healthy, athletic, or fit you are, you’ve no doubt had periods where your muscles have been injured or have been tight and painful from stress.

What causes this muscle pain? Often, it’s created by the fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds all of the parts of our body. Fascia is connected to our skin, our bones, nerves, internal organs, and blood vessels. It also surrounds our muscles. Some people compare it to the white tissue that surrounds and holds together each individual wedge when you peel open an orange.
Fascia structure of muscle

Fascia helps separate and support our muscles. It keeps them in their proper places and helps them work independently of one another (so you can move your fingers to type, for instance, without moving your entire hand). Fascia also keeps things lubricated so that muscles can move against one another in a smooth manner.

When we experience muscle pain, we often think of it as just that—pain caused by an injured or inflamed muscle. Often, though, pain and restricted movement are caused by injury and inflammation of the muscle fascia. This can create pressure that measures up to 2,000 pounds per square inch…pressure on muscles, as well as pressure on surrounding fascia.

The result of this? Muscle pain that ranges from back issues to jaw pain and migraine headaches. People with myofascial restrictions complain of everything from sciatica to spinal disc issues—all caused by this seemingly insignificant network of tissue!

Myofascial Release

While many of us are familiar with massage, myofascial release is a specialized, more intense form of massage. Also referred to as trigger point massage, myofascial release does exactly what the name implies: it helps release restrictions in the network of fascia. Since the fascia and muscles work as a network, pain or inflammation in one area might affect and refer pain to another area. Working to loosen trigger points (or knots deep within your muscles) that may cause dysfunction in other areas is the basis of trigger point massage.

Myofascial release can be performed as a passive massage where the recipient of the massage lies still and relaxes while the therapist works to find and relieve trigger points and tight areas of muscle fascia. These massages aren’t relaxing, spa-like massages, but can be quite painful as the therapist attempts to get these areas to release.

Active myofascial massages require the recipient to take part, moving and using different techniques to work areas that need release. It is this kind of massage for which you would use a foam roller.

Foam Rollers and Myofascial Release Therapy

Because fascia spans over whole areas of muscle and trigger points are often located deep within muscle, it can be hard—impossible, even—to use your hands to perform myofascial release or trigger point therapy on yourself. There are a wide variety of massage tools available to assist with these kinds of massages, but one of the most effective methods is using a foam roller.
trigger-point-foam-roller-for-SMR-self-myofascial-release

If you have a broad area of sore muscle, gentle use of a foam roller can help relax that area, as well as relieve pain. Tight areas of fascia can pull on muscle, as well as surrounding fascia—creating a domino effect. You may find that by relieving one small area, you reduce pain and tightness in a larger area of muscle.

How do you know if you simply have sore muscles or if you have specific trigger points? Some trigger points can actually be felt as hard knots within a muscle. These spots will be intensely painful when pressed. We’ll talk more about that in a bit—the fact that trigger points hurt and getting them to release really, really hurts.

The odd thing about trigger points, though, is that sometimes they don’t hurt in the area of the trigger point itself. As you’re using your foam roller, you may encounter some areas where you’re rolling in one spot, but you feel pain in a completely different area. Perhaps you’re working to massage an area in your outer thigh and you feel a pain that radiates down your leg, perhaps into your knee. This indicative of a trigger point in your thigh muscles.

Why Must It Hurt?

The good thing is that—hooray!—you’ve located your trigger points. The bad thing is that now, you have to get them to release. It’s not much fun to apply pressure to a spot that’s already intensely sore, but that’s the only way to relieve these spots and end the pain. It’ll hurt while you’re in the process of doing it, but once the pain is gone afterwards, you’ll feel a lot better. This is why there are massage therapists who specialize in deep tissue massage. It hurts, but it’s necessary.

The good thing about perusing foam roller reviews and purchasing one to use on yourself is that you can control the level of intensity. While a massage therapist can only go on what you tell them (or how loudly you scream when they press a particular trigger point or area of tight fascia), you can customize your massage to a level that you can tolerate.

Stretching out those areas of muscle is good, but to really get relief, you’re going to have to press down a bit and work those knots. Think of the bands of muscle throughout your body. A stretched muscle will feel better, but if it still has a knot in it, it’s going to be less flexible and much, much more painful. As you slowly release that knot, you’re going to lengthen the muscle, increasing flexibility and range of movement, as well as blood flow.

In short, deep, intense compression of the muscle is necessary to massage the fascia, as well as reach trigger points that are located deep within the layers of muscle. While deep-tissue massage hurts, you don’t want to further injure yourself. You also don’t want to be in such intense pain that you won’t use your foam roller regularly. You are the only one who can decide how much pain/pressure you can withstand; just know that this kind of massage is a “no pain, no gain” sort of treatment.

Foam Roller Fixes for Common Problems

What with trigger points, fascia networks and referred pain, it can be difficult to know where to roll in order to get relief from the pain you’re experiencing. Here are a few tips on areas to target in order to knock out pain problems.

  • Foam Rolling Lower Back & Upper Back

It might not sound intuitive, but if you’re experiencing pain in trigger points foam rolling lower backyour lower back, try focusing on the muscles in your hips. Restrictions in hip muscles reduce flexibility, which affects the way you bend and move. The result? If those muscles aren’t working the way they should, you put additional pressure on your lower back every time you bend over. This pain is especially exacerbated during sports and regular exercise. When foam rolling lower back, focus specifically on your hips and gluteal muscles. If you’ve been having lower back pain, chances are that you’ll find muscles in those areas that are tight.

How about your upper back? Pain and tension in the upper back are common problems due to our sedentary lifestyle that has us sitting all day as we drive, work at our desks, or lounge on our couches while watching TV. Where does all that pain originate? The muscles behind our shoulder blades.

The trick is to get behind those shoulder blades so that we can work those hidden muscles. To do this, lie down on the floor with your foam roller positioned on your upper back. As you use the roller, move your shoulders and elbows forward in front of you. This will pull your shoulder blades apart, exposing the muscles underneath so that you can give them a nice, deep massage.

  • Shoulder Pain Relief

Next to back pain, shoulder pain is probably one of the most common complaints that send people seeking relief. Often, this pain isn’t caused by the large shoulder muscles, but by the small muscles just behind the shoulder joint. These oft-overlooked muscles work hard and deserve a good massage. To do so, put the roller under the back part of your shoulder and move your entire arm up and down.
Shoulder-Pain-Trigger-Points
What about the front part of the shoulder? Flip over on your stomach and roll the part of your shoulder close to your chest. Remember to search for trigger points that feel like hard knots in the muscle. Try rolling these muscles with your arm bent at a 90-degree angle at the elbow, hand extended upwards. Next, extend your arm completely out and forward in front of you. Work on both sides to ensure that you work both shoulders equally.

  • Knee Pain Relief

Weight, gravity, and impact all take a daily toll on weight-bearing joints like our knees. Over time, injuries can happen and serious pain can develop. Experts differ on strategies for treating knee pain. Some (as mentioned above) suggest that if you have pain that radiates down your leg—to your knee, for instance—that massaging the outer thigh is the answer. This will work the IT band, providing relief to areas further down.

Other experts suggest that the IT band is not easily massaged and that a better plan of action is to focus on the inner thigh muscles. Since these muscles can tug on the knee joint itself, any inflammation or restriction in them can be problematic.

Accomplishing this massage requires a bit of a twist. Lay on your belly and extend your left leg out and to the side. Turn it and place your inner thigh against the floor. Bring your foam roller under your leg so that it’s perpendicular. With your forearms on the floor underneath you to bear your weight, move yourself back and forth to work those inner thigh muscles.

  • Heels

Moving lower, let’s look at some other areas where people commonly experience pain and discomfort. For folks with plantar fasciitis, going about their day can be a real pain in the heel. Not sure if you have this condition? The pain will be especially noticeable when you first begin walking in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time. That’s because you’re working to stretch out the plantar fascia, which runs from the bottom of the foot to the heel. Inflammation in this fascia can cause some pretty severe pain.

Thankfully, searching out the best foam roller and using it can help. You’ll need a pretty firm roller for this, as you’ll be placing a lot of your weight on it and need it to provide resistance. Standing on your right foot, place your foam roller underneath the left foot so that your foot curls sideways over it. Put as much pressure as possible on your left foot and begin rolling it back and forth, massaging it from your toe all the way back to your heel. Turn your foot back and forth as you roll it so that you massage the entire bottom of your foot.

  • Shins

If you’ve ever gone snowboarding in an ill-fitting boot, you know the agony of shin splints. They can also be caused by running or jumping on surfaces that are too hard. The result is an inflamed sheath that surrounds your tibia…and frustrating, constant pain that takes a while to clear up. Help your shins heal faster by using your foam roller to work the area.

You’ll want to start by getting on your hands and knees with your chest positioned over the foam roller. Bring your left knee up and place your shin on the roller. You’re now in the perfect position to massage that shin! Bring it up and down to apply pressure to the area, stretching your ankle back and forth to help the massage.

  • Ankles

Tendonitis is no fun…especially when it happens in your Achilles tendon. If you’re having pain in your lower calf, your Achilles could be the culprit. Ankle problems that are left untreated can even cause back pain, so this isn’t an area to ignore.

To massage out problems caused by your Achilles tendon, sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Put your foam roller under the meaty part of your left calf. Bring your right ankle up and cross it on top of your left. This will help you apply more pressure to the left calf. Roll up and down, flexing and turning your ankle back and forth so that you massage all areas of your calf. Concentrate on any areas that are especially tight and painful.

Physical Therapy Foam Roller Exercises

As you may have noticed from reading our foam roller reviews, many people seek out lightweight, small foam rollers that they can take with them to the gym or to yoga class. This is because using a foam roller can really take your workout to the next level. Here are just a few ways you can use a foam roller to exercise.

  • Boost Your Pushups and Planks

    People use a variety of items on which to balance as they do their workouts. This is because being forced to balance as you do your regular exercises helps work your core and improve your coordination. If your regular workout has gotten too easy or boring, consider adding in a foam roller to take it up a notch.

    One way to do this? Instead of doing planks and pushups with your hands on the floor, balance with them on a foam roller, instead. As you work your arms and shoulders, you’ll also really engage your core as the roller moves underneath you and you have to adjust to accommodate that movement. You can purchase a half-round roller to start out with if a full-round roller moves around too much.

  • Use Foam Roller Exercises with Yoga for Lower Back Pain

    There are a variety of props you can use during your yoga workout. Straps can help you stabilize and deepen stretches. Yoga blocks can help beginner yogis attempt difficult poses or provide support for areas that are injured or not so easily stretched. foam rolling lower back can help with yoga as well. If you have problems with your lower back, you can place a foam roller underneath your knees in order to support them when lying down. Use a short foam roller as you would use a yoga block when doing poses such as the extended triangle.

  • Do more Crunches

    By placing a foam roller underneath, (running lengthwise along your spine), you can really boost the crunch portion of your workout. Balancing on a foam roller as you do crunches will work your core muscles even harder than regular crunches. Bring your shoulders and head up a bit and hold them there as you lift your left foot up, bringing your knee towards your chest. Bring it back down in a slow, controlled motion. Switch feet. Repeat this exercise ten times.

Get Rolling!

By now, you should know whether or not a foam roller is right you.  We provided you with in-depth foam roller reviews and discussed how to properly use them.  Now, it’s time for you to buy one and get started with your therapy.

After you get yours, start slow and listen to your body.  Don’t get discouraged if you experience some pain.  It’s all part of the healing process.  This is especially true if you are using your foam roller for myofascial release or trigger point massage.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of foam rolling, check out our full guide here: The Benefits of Foam Rollers.

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